Talks to rebuild security cooperation between the UK and the EU must restart now after Brexit left the UK “less safe and less secure”, a group of Conservatives say
The Prime Minister is accused of “not being ambitious enough” after the Brexit agreement shut down the UK’s access to important criminal databases, including the records of stolen identities, as well as wanted criminals.
Ejection from the European Arrest Warrant system means that “some criminals will not be extradited”, while leaving Europol meaning that the UK will lose it’s crucial influence, a report has detailed.
Significantly, it has been carried out by the Conservative European Forum (CEF), which is led by the Tory heavyweights David Lidington and Dominic Grieve, and had been written by a former boss of the Bar Council.
This comes after 15 million people in the UK have been vaccinated for the coronavirus, with everyone in the top four of the UK’s priority groups having been offered a vaccine for COVID-19, the nation’s health secretary has now confirmed.
“It is plain that we have lost important tools for tackling crime,” said its author, QC Guy Mansfield.
“Speed is crucial and the loss of real time access to important databases will have a serious impact on our ability to tackle a host of issues associated with international organised crime.”
Sir David, Theresa May’s former deputy, said: “Criminality today does not respect national frontiers and our security systems must reflect this reality. The UK and EU must now urgently conduct talks to strengthen security cooperation.”
And Mr Grieve said: “Every day that passes is storing up problems, as systems run more slowly and with less cooperation between security agencies. The government cannot simply cross its fingers and hope.”
This criticism comes after Boris Johnson, unlike his Prime Ministerial predecessor, chose not to pursue any separate security agreement amid last year’s frenzied Brexit withdrawal negotiations.
The UK has also, following Brexit, sacrificed the ability to initiate joint investigations through both Europol and Eurojust, and EU nations will no longer have to extradite their nationals into the UK.
The CEF vowed, last month, to press Mr Johnson to seek to improve on the Christmas Eve agreement due to turmoil for exporters and creative artists, as well as the security fears.
Its report points out that so-called “successes” are not gains, but simply rescued access to the Passenger Name Records (PNR) and European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS) databases.
This comes after symptomatic cases of COVID-19 have been dropping by 94% after receiving two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which is according to the largest study of real-world data coming from Israel.
Lord Sandhurst added: “I do not wish to see the UK less safe or less secure as result of our changed relationship with the EU.
“This is not a debate about sovereignty, trade or tariffs. It’s about security and, as a Conservative, I believe that the security of the UK and its citizens must always come first.”
However, Downing Street has shown no enthusiasm to return to the negotiating table since the Prime Minister signed what he called his “fantastic” deal.
A new “partnership council” between the UK and the EU has yet to be set up, and the UK government has insisted that the agreement cannot be reopened.